Polar bear that drifted 450 MILES south on an ice floe is flown ‘home’

Polar bear is flown back ‘home’ after accidentally drifting 450 MILES along the Russian coast on an ice flow and wandering into a village ‘as if pleading for help’

  • The predator, named Umka, came ashore in the remote Russian village Tilichiki 
  • This area on the Kamchatka peninsula is considered too far south and too warm  
  • Eight days after his arrival, an ‘Air Bear’ rescue mission was staged for Umka

A polar bear that floated 450 miles too far south on an ice floe has been flown back ‘home’ by helicopter.

The lost predator, named Umka, came ashore in the remote Russian village of Tilichiki and wandered to the local police station ‘as if pleading for help’.

And help he got.  Eight days after his arrival, an ‘Air Bear’ rescue mission was staged by the Russian Emergencies Ministry to fly the wild animal back to icy Chukotka region from where he had floated.

The area he had stumbled to on the Kamchatka peninsula is considered too far south – too warm and with the wrong food – for polar bears to survive, so the rescue was vital. 

Despite the danger, the beast became a local celebrity, with residents providing the forlorn male with freshly caught fish – and sweets.

The lost predator, named Umka, came ashore in the remote Russian village of Tilichiki

A video shows the moment the beast was released just below the Arctic Circle after it was successfully transported ‘home’ by plane. 

The bear emerged from its travelling cage and at first hesitated about returning to the wild – but then ran into the distance.

A rescuer gave Umka encouragement from the roof of the cage to run back to his home

This area on the Kamchatka peninsula is considered too far south – and too warm, for Umka

A rescuer gave Umka encouragement from the roof of the cage.

Earlier there was a ‘midair alert’ when the sedated giant suddenly awoke amid fears it would rock the Mi-8 helicopter or destroy its cage on the 450 mile flight to Navarin Cape, reported The Siberian Times.

‘He was conscious during the flight, but did not rock the cage,’ said a spokesman for the Kamchatka regional government.

Umka was wary of local dogs as he ate fish provided for him by the local villagers in Tilichiki

Rescuers sedated the polar bear before taking him on the long journey back home 

‘It was loud, he was afraid.

‘According to hunters, the longer and more difficult the journey, the less likely that the animal will come to people later.’

The bear was freed – with three days supply of fish.

‘They opened the cage door and released the animal,’ said the spokesman.

Eight days after his arrival, an ‘Air Bear’ rescue mission was staged by the Russian Emergencies Ministry to fly the wild animal back to icy Chukotka region. The Air Bear journey is depicted

Vets gave the bear the once over and said he was in brilliant shape after having eaten well

The container the bear was transported in after being found 450 miles from home

‘Umka almost immediately left the cage and, without even turning around to say goodbye, ran away.’

Vets had examined the bear before its release and found the animal was healthy.

Kamchatka wildlife consultant Alexander Selnitsyn said: ‘The animal is in excellent condition.

‘He is well-fed, and has normal subcutaneous fat.

‘This is not surprising, because in the last days he was fed here, as if for slaughter.’

Such ice floe odysseys are rare for polar bears and often mean death for the confused creatures.

‘This bear had the sense to go to the local police station,’ said a local official.

 

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